Chasing Medals: Riley Fitzsimmons’ Olympic Journey and Love for Kayaking

Chasing Medals: Riley Fitzsimmons’ Olympic Journey and Love for Kayaking

“We are chasing medals!” said three-time Olympian Riley Fitzsimmons.

And we at Race One are right behind you!

With an ongoing 12-year Olympic campaign, countless kilometers in both his kayak and Race One ski, on the flat, in the ocean and through the waves, the question had to be asked; “what is it about paddling that you love?”

For Riley, the question was easy, the answer perhaps an experience only very few will endure in their lifetime.

“For me I love the art of it and how good it feels when you’re moving a kayak effortlessly, but I also crave the high-pressure moments,” he said.

“I’ll admit, I’m addicted to those last few moments when the starter calls you forward for the start of the event, and everyone is quiet.

“The butterflies in your stomach are going berserk, but you’re focused and confident in what you’re about to do!”

For many of us, kayaking is seen to be a leisurely day out on the water or perhaps a paddle around a quaint island but for Riley, it’s seen as an art.

“There is such an art and skill to nailing a K4 boat, and when it is done right, it’s beautiful to watch,” he said passionately.

“The synchronicity, intensity and speed of 36 guys tearing down the course – its pretty awesome to watch!”

Throughout his career there have been many learning opportunities and experiences that have shaped him into both the man, and the athlete that he is today with his biggest lesson throughout, gratitude.

“Learning not to take the small moments for granted,” he said.

 “The past 12 years have flown by, and I just try to soak it all in now and enjoy what it is I am doing. I’m probably forgetful sometimes of just how special these experiences are!”

Currently in Europe with his K4 teammates and Olympic debuts; Pierre van der Westhuyzen, Jackson Collins and Noah Havard, Riley continues to pinch himself that he is not only about to attend his third games but, is sitting in the driver’s seat of an incredible K4 team.

“It still doesn’t feel real saying it (three-time Olympian)” he said.

 “I just feel incredibly lucky to be going again, and super lucky to be a part of this group.”

Despite Paris being the debut games for Riley’s teammates, he believes that this K4 could secure Australia a podium finish.

“We believe we have the race strategy to produce a result for Australia at the games and I believe that this group is in a really good space at the moment.

“We could do something pretty special at the upcoming games!” He said.

Representing Australia at the pinnacle of Kayaking, for the third time – at just 27-years of age, will we see Riley Fitzsimmons paddling in LA at the 2028 games?

Naturally, he couldn’t answer that.

For now, it’s off to Paris for what will be one hell of a ride.

A special one. Perhaps the last one. Perhaps not.

“Tomorrow is never promised, enjoy the now while it lasts!” – Riley Fitzimmons.

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